Is a New Golden Age of Passenger Rail Dawning? The Kiplinger Letter

An increased focus on rail travel has ushered in several major new projects.

To help you understand what is going on in the transportation and infrastructure sector and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

Is a golden age of passenger rail dawning in the U.S.? 

It’s possible, as an increased focus on rail travel has ushered in several major new projects. Part of the push comes from the bipartisan infrastructure law giving $66 billion to rail, with half of it already allocated, but there are some high-profile private projects, too. 

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In 2018, Brightline, a Florida-based company, opened the only privately owned and operated intercity U.S. railroad, with service from Miami to West Palm Beach. It recently expanded with a new $6 billion line to Orlando. And soon the company will break ground on the first dedicated high-speed passenger rail line in the U.S. — Brightline West — connecting Los Angeles to Las Vegas. 

The feds are considering a high-speed line for the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver corridor. It could be a public-private project. Amtrak is proposing a Dallas-to-Houston route with trains going 205 miles per hour. 

Still, challenges can be daunting for new rail lines. California has struggled with cost overruns and delays for its state-funded Los Angeles-to-San Francisco line.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Sean Lengell
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Sean Lengell covers Congress and government policy for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in January 2017 he served as a congressional reporter for eight years with the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times. He previously covered local news for the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. A native of northern Illinois who spent much of his youth in St. Petersburg, Fla., he holds a bachelor's degree in English from Marquette University.